Peace has been on my heart a lot this month as new guidelines for school evolved, parents faced decisions about homeschool, and activities in church and community began. I think it's normal for us all to feel anxious as changes take place and essentially rock the boat of our security and our sense of calm.
It's hard when we just want everything to be normal. For me, it felt like a grand tug-of-war, as people jumped to one team or another, and everyone pulled on the rope with all their might: a fight of perspective. Heated discussions, and an overall sense of uncertainty seemed to flood the environment.
In this tug-of-war battle, I wondered where all our peace had gone?
This morning, we did a devotional time with the kids and looked at two different pictures, that you have probably seen before.
In each picture what do you see?
The young woman turned around, or the old lady looking down? Do you see the goblet, or two faces looking at each other?
The illustration is meant to remind us that there is always more than one way to see a situation.
When we want life to be black and white, we have to face that it isn't.
In the times we find ourselves hanging in limbo or unsure of what the future holds, we can remember these biblical truths about peace.
our POSITION in Christ among those redeemed,
our PRESENT moments trusting in Him,
our PURPOSE as we reconcile others to Him, and,
our PRIZE as we will be perfected at His return!
When we look at peace as a Person, rather than limit it to a feeling, our actions are guided towards Him; knowing Him, loving Him and following Him as we walk in obedience.
These tips are probably nothing you don’t already know, and maybe think you “should” do as a follower of Jesus. Remembering that in some seasons, one area may be stronger than another. The goal here is not to throw your hands in the air and compare all the ways you don’t measure up! It is a guide to encourage you to evaluate all the good things you are already doing to maintain peace, and to look for areas where you can grow, to help you take one step toward Jesus in a small way, or in a big way.
So here are 7 practices to move you towards more peace for your soul:
1. Pray. Prayer settles our hearts on God. We pour out our frustration, our distress, and everything in between, to participate in relationship with our Savior. There is no amount of upheaval in life that He has not both experienced, and overcome. Remember that the garden of Gethsemane was not only a place where Jesus prayed, it is also the place where he was betrayed and arrested, leading to his physical suffering. He has felt uncertain and asked the Father to take the suffering away, but prioritized the will of God first. May we humbly submit to the Lord in prayer and ask for courage to do the same.
2. Preach the Gospel to yourself. The prophets foretold of the Prince of Peace who would come. The Jews expected a rebel who would take back the land. Rather, the Gospel reminds us that Jesus did not come to fight the government. He didn't come to rebel against Rome and lead the Jews to national victory. He came in quietness and peace, to teach and to heal hearts that so desperately needed a Shepherd. The Gospel has rescued us, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. He has healed our souls when we trust in and follow Him, and He will continue to heal our souls in sanctification, as we faithfully walk with Him.
3. Sing. You might be laughing right now, but I’m serious! Find your favorite worship songs, play them on youtube or spotify, put the music loud and just sing! Keith Getty in his book Sing!, writes, “The truth is that God designed you to sing and gave you everything you need to sing, as well He wants you to…Christian singing begins with the heart, not the lips.” Praising God is all about Him, not us. It moves our heart to wonder and worship. So, find your songs and sing! :)
4. Memorize Scripture. No I’m not asking you to memorize the entire bible right now. I’m saying that it’s time to find some Scripture that speaks into your current struggle, write it out on an index card, on your bathroom mirror or your kitchen window, so that you invite the Holy Spirit into your struggle throughout the day and by the power of His Word gain traction in knowing Him more through this means of grace. May we be people whose "delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:2)
5. Find A Friend. Well, here’s the most vulnerable/scary tip. Share your struggle with someone and ask them to hold you accountable. These days life is uncertain and constantly changing. We need peace now more than ever and we can find it as we live in human connection. Do you think you are entirely alone in your struggle for peace? Absolutely not! You are also not alone in holding that discontent tightly inside yourself and staying imprisoned by it. If you can’t think of someone, email me!
6. Journal. The practice of putting words on paper is a way of processing what is going on in our mind. Often times, I write in my own journal and didn’t know what I was totally feeling until it all came out with pen and paper. Grab a sheet of loose-leaf, make a list – what you’re struggling with, what you know about God, what you feel like you need from Him; write what’s been going on in your life, how hard it is to accept wearing a mask, navigate the new rules with your kids, or to hear over and over (and over) news about covid and everyone’s personal opinion. Write down a list of everything you are grateful for.
7. Be a Peacemaker. This practice is rooted in your own peace with God, and can now overflow into your relationships with others: your spouse, your kids, your community. What does it look like in these times to be people of peace? Especially when our opinions differ from those around us? Are we allowing opinions to polarize us and cause division? The enemy’s greatest tool is to cause disunity among His people. Think about the people in your life, in your communities and think about ways to bring peace instead of division.
When seasons change, life evolves and challenges press hard against us. Our peace is found in Christ, who is our position, our present, our purpose and our prize. May we endeavour, by grace, to become people who model and demonstrate a calm and trusting spirit in the One who holds the world in His hand.
What is one step you want to take today toward greater peace?